1:2 against Hartberg in the ÖFB Cup, 1:2 against Salzburg in the Bundesliga. The people from Hütteldorf would certainly have imagined the start of the spring season differently. From the point of view of the Hütteldorfer, it is now important to get back on the road to success. Rapid would like to take the first step this Thursday (6:45 p.m.) in the Conference League against Vitesse Arnheim. The Dutch are also currently struggling with a low form. The Dutch around ÖFB striker Adrian Grbic have even lost the last four competitive games – with a goal difference of 1:16. There really isn’t a favourite.
Vitesse Arnhem is currently in sixth place. Despite the recent 0:5 in the cup against Ajax Amsterdam and the series of defeats, Rapid coach Ferdinand Feldhofer described the Dutch as good opponents. You shouldn’t be blinded by the last two results,” emphasized the 42-year-old. Vitesse acts flexibly with and without the ball. “A lot of pressing, a lot of counter-pressing, a lot of vertical play, but they also practice long balls,” he outlined Rapids Coach.
Today’s Rapid opponent has scored just once in the last four games. Nevertheless, Feldhofer has respect for the opponent’s offensive: “They really have quality in the front rows.” In addition to Nikolai Baden Frederiksen and Grbic, he warned against Lois Openda’s dynamism and liveliness and also described Maximilian Wittek as an “absolute key player”. You can’t afford to make minor mistakes.
The Hütteldorfer want to build on the performance against Salzburg. We did very well in terms of intensity and approach, but we didn’t trust ourselves enough with the ball. We have to do better,” Feldhofer knew. Basically, his confidence is high. “If we get our game through and make fewer mistakes in the crucial scenes, then we have a good chance of getting a good result and then making promotion too.”
In any case, Rapid is looking for a sense of achievement. A win would also be extremely important in terms of the Bundesliga. There are three more rounds to play before the points are shared. The current fifth in the Bundesliga table has not yet secured a top sixth place. Of course we also have Sunday in the back of our minds,” admitted Feldhofer. You have to look to play both games positively. “We will need more than eleven players there.” So the starting eleven will not be the same in each case.
Rapid can fall back on Taxiarchis Fountas and Robert Ljubicic. However, Maximilian Hofmann will be absent. He sustained a muscle injury from a blow to the calf against Hartberg. The two teams have never met in the European Cup. There is no video referee used in this game. Those responsible expect at least 10,000 spectators. “The fans can be a big factor,” said midfielder Grüll. There is also a lot of money at stake, and a bonus of 900,000 euros awaits the climber.
Other matches are also on the agenda in the Europa League and the Conference League.